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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    2,222

    CA and NV high desert - family camping rec's

    hi all,
    my family (w/ our pup) are brainstorming a camping trip next week somewhere in the CA/NV high desert. our thinking is that the vegas and mohave desert latitude is the furthest south that we would go. it looks like st george area is too much time in the car. i'm looking for good fall-time tent camping suggestions. the kids are 10 and 6. they like to explore on foot. travel would be via a 4x4. our general preference is base-camp type camping with daytime explorations.

    thanks and cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    536
    Are you open to campgrounds or are you trying to get away from other campers?

  3. #3
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    Aug 2006
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    Campgrounds are fine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    536
    Have you been to Joshua Tree? If not, you might consider it. If you can't get a site inside the park, there are a bunch of campgrounds around it.

    There is another KOA campground in Salome Az I was going to suggest, too, but it is outside the area you mentioned. The main thing about the Salome campground was it was the quietest campground I've ever been at, and the skies were extremely clear. The Milky Way was very visible at night with very little light pollution.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
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    3,068
    I have a killer off-grid spot near Mammoth. I can PM you coordinates if interested.
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Thanks for the input. Areas near mammoth might be too cold, but I need to confirm with the other primary decision maker. The AZ input is useful. I was also thinking about lower Owens Valley. I'm looking forward to the time that the littles can bear sitting longer in a car and we can head to anza borrego and the CO plateau.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    25,534
    Saline Valley.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Saline valley crosses my mind. Thanks

  9. #9
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    Aug 2006
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    Is Saline valley really in the national park? Are rangers out that far enforcing the dog policy?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    25,534
    Something was absorbed, the old ways changed to blm rules.
    I can't speak with knowledge but heard the old days were splendid.
    I'm sure there's a fringe safety zone out there somewhere.
    Do the hot springs and report back.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    2,222
    Our relaxed morning didn't allow us to make it all the way into saline valley. And we decided to not pack up camp or make the longer drive to camp at the springs. We picnicked above the northern part of the valley (pict) and explored there a little. It is just the beginnings of desert explorations for the family and will make it a point to hit the springs in saline valley and the eureka dunes. We camped in bishop so that we had manageable late night temps (low 40's). It was dropping into the 20's in the long valley area. We hit many springs in long valley.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    6,666
    Too late for this year, but how far are you from Lava Beds National Monument? My family went up there once when I was a kid and exploring the lava tubes was super cool. Your kids are the perfect age for it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    455
    Not the high desert, but between them - White Mountains. The campground up there's not bad, some free spots just beyond it that are better views, but perhaps some dubious neighbors. Hiking through the M. Mahogany and the Ancient Bristlecones (oldest trees on earth) is something to show them, as are the fantastic views to the east and west.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    There's also an observatory or weather station up there. I forget which but I've talked to them by phone in the past. Where's the road you take up to those campgrounds?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    455
    I was thinking of grandview campground, off of white mountain rd. Fantastic star gazing up there.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Too late for this year, but how far are you from Lava Beds National Monument? My family went up there once when I was a kid and exploring the lava tubes was super cool. Your kids are the perfect age for it.
    We had forgotten about lava beds national monument, but it's in the list.

    Of course in future school fall breaks, we'll also be heading into the Colorado Plateau area. It's been a while since I was down there. I have good resources for that area.

  17. #17
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    Aug 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunfree View Post
    I was thinking of grandview campground, off of white mountain rd. Fantastic star gazing up there.
    The whites are definitely on the list. I think it'd be fun to explore many of the Great Basin ranges.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,222
    Took a break from the wet weather, snow, and skiing this week during the kids' spring break and spent some time on the western environs in/near Death Valley NP. tons of cool shit to explore. Here's a few phone picts




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